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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Natanya Russek

Research Coordinator

Natanya Russek graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2014 with a degree in neurobiology. At Wisconsin she contributed to research on the development of a stem cell therapy for stroke under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Jensen.

Natanya joined the Memory and Aging Center in May of 2014. She coordinates the study Frontotemporal Dementia: Genes, Imaging and Emotions. This observational study aims to better characterize neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal dementia with the goal of developing better diagnostic tools for the diseases.

Carolyn Fredericks, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Carolyn Fredericks, MD, joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in July 2014 as a behavioral neurology fellow. She completed her bachelor's degrees at Brown University in classics and neuroscience, then received her medical degree from Stanford University, where she also completed her internship in internal medicine. She went on to a residency in neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and UCSF. Her prior research experience includes studies of genetic influences on corticolimbic circuits in individuals with bipolar disorder, functional neuroimaging studies of reward processing in both healthy and bipolar individuals, and exploration of the inflammatory response to psychosocial stress in healthy young women. She is currently working with Drs. Bill Seeley and Virginia Sturm in an effort to better understand the effects of genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease on psychosocial measures and intrinsic brain connectivity.

Julio C. Rojas, MD, PhD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Julio Rojas received his medical degree from the Tecnológico de Monterrey School of Medicine in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. He completed his doctoral studies in neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin with a dissertation on Strategies of neuroprotection in an in vivo model of retinal degeneration induced by mitochondrial dysfunction. He completed neurology residency at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. In 2014, he joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center where he is a behavioral neurology fellow. Dr. Rojas is part of the Clinical Trials team led by Dr. Adam Boxer in which he participates in patient evaluation and monitoring. He provides care to patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and collaborates in the evaluation of patients for the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC), frontotemporal dementia program project grant and Rapidly Progressive Dementia Program. Dr. Rojas is interested in experimental neurotherapeutics, and his research focuses on biomarker development and cognitive enhancing interventions.

Publications

A selection of the abstracts and manuscripts published using EXAMINER data.

The publications listed on this page are a selection of the articles published that used the EXAMINER battery. If you wish to look for more, you can search PubMED, which is maintained by the National Library of Medicine, or Google Scholar.

Manuscripts

  1. Kramer, J.H. (2014). Special Series Introduction: NIH EXAMINER and the Assessment of Executive Functioning. Journal of the International Psychological Society, 20(1), 8-10. doi: 10.1017/S1355617713001185

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Read through our list of commonly asked questions about using the NIH EXAMINER Test Battery.


General

Q: Are there norms for each individual subtest or just the composite scores? We are hoping to get age- or age-and-education-based norms.

Anesthesia

The risk of cognitive decline related to surgery and anesthesia continues to be debated in the scientific literature. Some animal studies suggest that anesthesia may worsen the development of the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease while others identify the surgical procedure itself to be a problem by causing inflammation and release of harmful proteins. Others attribute temporary or permanent cognitive changes to the medications used to manage pain or other complications of being hospitalized. Ultimately, although this is a very active area of research, there are no definitive studies in older humans that prove a causative effect on the brain from anesthesia or provide recommendations on specific choices of anesthesia. Despite this, we hope to be able to identify information that may help our patients with cognitive problems evaluate the risk and make informed choices about surgery and anesthesia.

The risk of cognitive decline related to surgery and anesthesia continues to be debated in the scientific literature. Some animal studies suggest that anesthesia may worsen the development of the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease while others identify the surgical procedure itself to be a problem by causing inflammation and release of harmful proteins. Others attribute temporary or permanent cognitive changes to the medications used to manage pain or other complications of being hospitalized.

Serggio Lanata, MD

Clinical Instructor and Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Serggio Lanata was raised in Peru, where he began his undergraduate studies in general science. He later earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida. He obtained his medical degree from the University of South Florida, and then completed his medicine internship and neurology residency at Brown University. He joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in July 2013 as a Clinical Instructor and Behavioral Neurology Fellow. He evaluates and treats patients referred to the MAC clinic.

Currently, he is mostly interested in the phenotypic overlap that exists between behavioral variant FTD and different psychiatric disorders, and how our understanding of bvFTD can inform our knowledge of the pathophysiology that underlies specific psychiatric disorders.

Salvatore Spina, MD, PhD

Clinical Instructor and Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Spina received his medical degree from the University of Catania, Italy. He completed a neurology residency at the University of Siena, Italy from which he also obtained his doctorate degree on mechanisms of neurodegeneration. He was trained in neuropathology of dementia syndromes at the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center, Indianapolis in the laboratory of Dr. Bernardino Ghetti. Later, he completed an internship in internal medicine and a neurology residency at Indiana University. Dr. Spina’s research focuses on the clinicopathologic and genetic correlations in neurodegenerative dementia syndromes, with a special interest on frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Richard Tsai, MD

Clinical Instructor and Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Richard Tsai received his undergraduate degree in molecular and cell biology at University of California, Berkeley and a joint MD/MBA degree at Drexel University. He completed a neurology residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, serving as chief resident in his last year. During his residency Dr. Tsai studied dementia and elderly populations in the developing world and worked on white matter imaging of dual task gait performance.

Dr. Tsai is fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese. In addition to evaluating patients at the Memory and Aging Center, he sees patients at the Chinese Hospital and SFDPH Chinatown Public Health Center in Chinatown.

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